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What is your favourite way to finish this sentence: "The Kingdom of God is like..."?
Imagine you’re living on a painting of a sunset. For years no-one knew it was a painting. It was just life. Then, people started chipping little bits of paint off the ground and anylsing it. These scientists come back after many years of research and declare “It’s pigment, resin, solvent and additives - That’s what the world is made of!" Everyone nods and agrees. Clearly, they are right.
Then, one day, someone fastens a little plastic bag to their back and, using a rubber-band found in the easel tray at the bottom of the world, they launch themself off the top. And, look back at the world.
“IT’S A SUNSET!” They say when they come back to Earth.
“What’s a sunset?” everyone asks.
“The painting we are living on,” the parachutist says.
“No,” the people say, “What is A SUNSET?”
“I don’t know,” he says, “I just read the title above the painting.”
This is how the scientific method works. We chip away at the natural world around us and slowly explain it. We think we are reaching deeper knowledge and greater understanding. But, we are just reading the signs.
There are questions that can never be answered with paint chips.
“What is a sunset, really?”
“Who is the artist of the painting in which we live?”
John, in his gospel, had a bit to say regarding how the Biblical worldview of the Christians really was very different to the naturalistic worldview all around them. Once we realise how pervasive the Greek culture was becoming, we begin to understand why John wrote what he did.
“In the beginning was the Word! The Word was with God! The Word was God!”
He’s arguing against the dominant worldview of the day: “Logic is king. Logic explains everything. I think, therefore I am.”
John says, in effect, “Not Logic - LOGOS!”
“In the beginning was the Logos! The Logos was with God! The Logos was God!”
In his usage of the Greek word Logos, John is talking about a “Holy Word,” a “Divine Speaker,” an “Eternal Storyteller.” Logic starts in your mind and ends in your mind. If you trace logical thought back, it goes to the mind of Plato. Then it stops.
Not so with the Holy, Divine, Eternal Logos. It is from before time. And, amazingly, John goes on, “The Logos became flesh, and lived here with us!” The supernatural became natural and tented in our campground. He tabernacled among us and then empowered us to tabernacle in the world. We are his Temple and His priesthood. That's epic. That's our God in action through us!
Without this amazing Biblical narrative, we have nothing as believers in Jesus. Without His life, death, resurrection and power over creation - over every chip of paint on the canvas - we are just telling stories. But with it - we can change the world - one story at a time.
It is saddening and desperately destructive that Aristotelian logical thought has so informed our worldview that we believe such a phrase as “just a story” is a reasonable one. We are a storytelling creature - given the most powerful story in the universe - and empowered to live it.
The wonderful thing is that today, a new worldview has emerged - yes it has its issues - which takes stories very seriously. A true Post-Modern thinker hears a story and says, “Is that true? Does it work for you?” If we answer yes that it is true for us it is given a chance to be true for them, as well.
I’m ashamed that I used logic to present the past three days thoughts. But, I wanted you to hear it. I wanted you to see it. I want you to shake free from the compulsion to prove truth and embrace the call to proclaim it - through story.
If I had written this series using a Biblical worldview, I would have told a story from beginning to end. I think I might have started it, “In the beginning God…”
I’ll leave the rest for you to tell.